False Advertising

Nowadays television and the advertising displayed in it is a part of everyday life in most households. What many people do not know is that television in many ways is bad. Numerous articles have been written on this. Many surveys and books have been written on this subject as well. The ads in television are what are especially bad. Some television ads are misleading.

Countless articles have been written on false advertising on television. Most of these articles target specific instances of fraudulent behavior, but some do address the television industry as a whole. These articles for the most part seem to be complaining about politicians (more so than the advertisers themselves) and the fact that "it is not politically palatable"(Miller) to make more stringent laws against fraudulent advertising. This means that politicians are not willing to make stricter laws for fear that they might come back to haunt them later. It is that topic that seemed to come up most in articles on false advertising.

Surveys have also been conducted to tell the amounts of "fraudulent" ads being seen on television and how they fluctuate from year to year. In the past ten years television ads which make fraudulent claims have "gone down significantly"(miller). This is in part due to several new laws which have been established. It is doubtful however that much more stringent laws will be put in place in the near future. This is mostly due to political stubbornness.

Many books have also been written on advertising in general. About three quarters of these books include sections on false advertising (generally large ones), the steps taken in preventing it, and how much of it you see every day. I think John Lahr put it best when he said "Society drives people crazy with lust and calls it advertising.". What he meant in my opinion was that advertising is simply meant to tease and really has little bearing on real life (other than to sell the product). That ties directly in with false advertising, because if something has little bearing on real life and the companies are trying to say that it does have bearing on real life, it is falsely advertising the product. A good way to demonstrate this would be if every family in America with a television saw one advertisement which twisted the facts approximately 99% of Americas families will have been sold on a product when they are not getting the absolute truth.

Some television ads are misleading. There should be no doubt in your mind about that now. There have been hundreds of books, articles, and surveys written which help prove this. If you turned on your television right now chances are somewhere on it you would find an ad which significantly twists either the image of what the company is selling or actually twisting what the product itself does. You have to look at the very bottom of the screen with a microscope to see that, for instance the "Barbie Doll" doesn t actually run without anyone holding it. For you that may seem obvious, but not to the easily manipulated five year old who is seeing the ad for the first time. I think that our government should make much stricter laws on what ad agencies may say and/or show in their ads.

Bibliography

Hoffman, Mark S., ed. The World Almanac and Book of Facts. New York: Funk & Wagnalls Corporation, 1994. TV Viewing Shares and Nielsen Media Research.

Advertising, The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations. Columbia University Press, 1993. Advertising.

Advertising, The Concise Columbia Encyclopedia. Columbia University Press, 1995. Advertising.

Miller, Molly. "The Color of Money," Mother Earth News. Vol.154, Feb. 1996 pp. 78-80

"False Advertising- A gallery of Parody." Internet. http://www.ziplink.net/ sure/.

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